Brian Ulrich has a very good and idealistic post explaining his endorsement for the Presidential election next year.
One day a couple of summers ago, I was wandering with some friends through the streets of Madaba, Jordan, looking for a hotel. We met a man who told us we were on the wrong side of town, but who insisted on closing his shop to give us a ride, saying that he was planning to go to New York in November and hoped people there would do the same for him. On that same trip, I had a taxi driver from Irbid, who asked if it was true than in the United States Muslims, Jews and Christians all lived together peacefully. A friend said it was, and he replied that he wished he could live in a place like that. Later, I went into Syria where I met a politically minded man who had many quarrels with American policy toward Iraq, Israel and the world at large, but who also spoke about American freedom and democracy as among the highest ideals toward which the peoples of the world aspired.
I’ve always been a bit skeptical of whether that man in Madaba would have gotten rides from random New Yorkers, but he and the others I have just mentioned were to something about America, something highlighted even more a few weeks later on September 11, 2001. That day, 19 members of a terrorist organization whom many would see as the face of Islam killed 3000 Americans at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
One of my professors was at a conference in Istanbul that day. When he returned, he told us that one thing he had noticed there was that people who had always seen the U.S. through a lens of flashy Hollywood movies and newscasts saw this country in a way they never had before, as for the first time the politicians and action heroes were displaced by police and firemen and medical workers. And even a cursory glance through the media shows that on that day, the world mourned as flowers were left at embassies, moments of silence were observed, and Arab students sitting in a Gulf classroom angrily announced the attacks as haram, a word the use of which would normally be punished but on this day was not as people who knew very well that al-Qaeda’s threats extended to more than just the U.S. wondered who might be next, and as all could see that the victims of these attacks were of a multitude of creeds and nationalities, drawn to these shores by a dream and an idea with which this nation is forever associated.
That idea, the idea touched upon by the Irbid taxi driver, the Madaba shopkeeper, the Syrian idealist and many others I have met over the years is community. For at the core of our being, Americans are builders of communities, and all our many debates revolve around one single question: How do we make our communities better.
Wow! My bad, cynical side wanted to ridicule all political leaders, but his post is too uplifting and moving.
You’ll have to go to Brian’s blog to find out who he endorsed.